Someone I Used to Know (Friday Fictioneers – October 2014)

Copyright Melanie Greenwood

“What I miss most about Fran is her laugh… “

“More of a gurgle, remember?”

We sit in silence, soaking up the sunshine, reflecting.

“How’s Joe?”

“Not good – he talks about her a lot, things she used to do, where they went together.”

I signal the waiter for the bill.

“I hope I go quickly when the time comes.”

“Too true.”

“My turn to pay?”

“I can’t remember…”

“Oh for chrissakes…”

We both burst out laughing, then stop abruptly, embarrassed.

“Time to go?”

We rise.

“Come on Fran, let’s get you home to Joe.”

Fran giggles girlishly.

Well, more of a gurgle really.

The last Friday Fictioneers of October.  Here in the south-east of England we’ve had a glorious October, sunny days with temperatures well above average. Hope my fellow writers have had a lovely summer, heads down for what promises to be a long and bitter winter, if you believe the Met Office.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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86 Responses to Someone I Used to Know (Friday Fictioneers – October 2014)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Delightful. I love the playful dialogue in this. I could see these two gals and hear them. I went back and read it again just for fun.

    We’re in the midst of a gorgeous autumn here as well. I only pray it’s the prelude to a monstrous winter.




  2. Sandra, Great dialogue. If I’m not mistaken there are three women at the table. One of them is suffering from dementia. The other women are discussing her and her husband’s reaction to the dementia of his wife. This is sad although they’re happy to be together as friends. Well written as always. You’ve cleverly shown the past occurances through their dialogue. — Susan


  3. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    I played disc golf this past Sunday and the second hole was called The Gurgler. I love it, and Fran and you.




    • Sandra says:

      Hi Doug. We have a stage diva in the UK who gurgles when she laughs. It’s extremely irritating. On the other hand, I once worked with someone who gurgled like that when she was amused, and I remember that engaging aspect of her personality more than any other. Thank you for your comment. (and reassurance).


  4. Ouch!
    Love how you lead innocently to the killer ending.


  5. Kir Piccini says:

    The flow of this, the reveal at the end ..each of them were perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed every line.


  6. Poor Fran. I read it too quickly to get it the first time, but it’s all there, in glorious writerly detail. Lovely.


  7. storydivamg says:

    I did have to read twice to get what happened, but I enjoyed the tale. Nicely handled.
    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  8. Caerlynn Nash says:

    Great dialogue! Terrific story.


  9. subroto says:

    I enjoyed this one, some ‘gurgles’ do leave a lasting impression.


  10. I love the feeling of friendship in this. Quite lovely and warm with a bit of sad sprinkled on top.


  11. elmowrites says:

    The picture tells me they are three, but the word “both” halfway through confuses me a little, because it seems as though they are talking in front of Fran but not really including her. I LIKE the twist, and the idea, but I wonder if there’s a way to make it clear earlier that there are three voices, without revealing until the end that one is indeed the wonderful and much-missed Fran. Just a suggestion; hopefully one that makes sense.


    • Sandra says:

      I freely admit this one didn’t come off well, Jen. Instinctively I was trying to convey the impact of early-onset dementia on a group of acquaintances, with the ‘talking about her as if she weren’t there’, the attempts to give the primary carer some time off, the attempt at humour to divert the worry that you might be exhibiting early symptoms yourself, followed by embarrassed guilt, etc. And the ‘twist’ is ambiguous – could be wishful thinking on their part, or perhaps just a shock reminder for them that something of her still remains. I intended the latter. An over-ambitious project for 100 words, I think. 😦


  12. I didn’t get dementia at all. I thought Fran was a zombie! I know so little about zombie’s though, perhaps they don’t even gurgle?


  13. Sandra, I always enjoy your stories and this week is no exception. You’re such a great writer. I hope things are going well in your neck of the woods.


  14. It took me quite a while to get it and I still wasn’t sure if Fran was a ghost they could somehow see! Excellent dialogue as usual and great subtle depth in just a few words.


  15. I thought that Fran had died, but the two friends were imagining her back with them and, as they had on previous occasions, were offering to take her home after she had had a little too much to drink.


    • Sandra says:

      Funnily enough I felt I’d been too explicit this week Randy. Perhaps I wouldn’t know ‘explicit’ if I fell over it. 🙂 It’s interesting that there have been such different interpretations of the story.


  16. I read it as Fran having hitched up with widower Joe, with the blessing of her friends. Great dialogue. Made me gurgle.


  17. wildbilbo says:

    Nice story, great dialogue. I did get a little lost… but nothing that a second read didn’t give me. ‘Missing Fran’, whilst she is still physically present was the key 🙂


  18. Danny James says:

    Great! It was one of those I thought I knew what it was about but I’m glad I read all the comments to confirm. Because sometimes…..I read too much into them. Actually it took me three reads it was so good!



  19. draliman says:

    I read this as Fran suffering from dementia.
    I can understand that they want to go quickly, and not just fade away like poor Fran. It’s good of them to take her out though, even if I guess she doesn’t really know what’s going on.
    Nice twist at the end, I thought until then she had died.


  20. liz young says:

    You and I had similar thoughts this week – I like yours too!


  21. Indira says:

    How we all hope that we go easily when the time comes and not suffer from illness or dementia. Great story, came out well in just 100 words though i had to read it twice.


  22. hafong says:

    Wonderful dialogue. I enjoy their friendship.



  23. Love the dialogue here, Sandra; it’s witty, realistic and holds me. Admittedly, I was a bit lost and didn’t get that there were 3 (only through comments), but I am often “slow on the uptake.” I always enjoy your work, whether I get it all or not. That is a compliment… though I may be the one who is confusing now. 😉


  24. Ellespeth says:

    Wonderful and natural flow to this dialogue. I liked the awkward moment turning point.


  25. Bastet says:

    Ouch .. poor Fran .. she’s there but she isn’t. Wonderful of her friends to stay by her though. Loved the dialogue, this is a great thought provoking write.


  26. It’s good when the old girls can still have a giggle, or rather gurgle. Great the way you’ve carried the story along with dialogue.


  27. Carrie says:

    It was a bit confusing but thank goodness for comments 🙂 I totally get what you were going for now!


  28. Amy Reese says:

    I hope I go fast, too, Sandra. But, it seems as though Fran is in loving company and that’s what counts. A delightful read.


  29. erinleary says:

    Oh, sad. I know the feeling of losing someone before they are really gone. Truly sad….beautifully told.


  30. Judee says:

    This is sad and lovely at the same time, Sandra. It does help to know there are three people, perhaps if a few extra words had been allowed – but it is so good! I love the part about “I can’t remember” becoming an unexpected joke, and their laugh, followed by embarrassment, because it’s so true to life, just the kind of thing that would happen.

    Well done, and always a pleasure to read your words. I’ve missed that. Maybe I’ll stick around awhile this time. 😉


  31. The “gurgle” said it all. Nicely written.


  32. babso2you says:

    Well done Sandra! I began a new flash site where you get a photo prompt and the first sentence to the story. You get to finish the story! I hope that you can take a moment to check out Mondays Finish the Story! Be well! ^..^


  33. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, Really good and sad story rolled into one. True-to-life situation and snappy dialogue. Well done! Nan 🙂


  34. Margaret says:

    You paint a heartwarming picture of friendship and loss. Beautiful little touches bring the people and their feelings to life.


  35. i b arora says:

    always difficult to tell a story through dialogue, nice work


  36. rgayer55 says:

    Great story, Sandra. It’s nice they took Fran out and gave Joe a break. The caregiver is the one who suffers most. I loved the dialogue and playful nature of the characters–and no one died–at least not yet.


  37. Sarah Ann says:

    I’m so glad you didn’t pull this. It’s clear there are three women – the two taking Fran out to give Joe a break maybe. It could be considered insensitive to talk about Fran as if she isn’t there, but she isn’t any more, and there’s no telling what their conversation and laughter might prompt in her. Wonderful story telling as ever.


    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Sarah Ann. Sorry to be so long in acknowledging – on the road again. Glad you liked it, and I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment about what other people’s activities might prompt in her.


  38. emmylgant says:

    Perhaps ambitious, but you pulled it off.
    With personal experience coloring my reading, I found it soberly moving and quite powerful.


  39. Miller says:

    Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences


I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

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